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Recognize a usability issue when you see it - 3, unexpected behavior

Recognize a usability issue when you see it - 3, unexpected behavior
Happy path vs actual p

When usability testing, participants will find new and creative ways to get tasks done.

Some UXRs I mentored would gracefully ignore these cases as usability issues. After all, the user did complete the tasks and they understood every single bit of their path.

But unexpected behavior and "creative ways" are really signs of a usability issue. If the user is not using the happy path that we designed for them, it means they couldn't find it or didn't get it. Hence, they do detours, workarounds, and other less efficient ways.

Here is an example of such unexpected behavior: I tested a Calendar app. I asked the participant to check what events they had for the week. The happy path is just looking at the week view and reading the event titles one after the other. Instead of doing this, the participant opened each and every one of the events in a dialog and read their title from there. Now, this is a way more inefficient way to do the task than the happy path.

We unpacked this with the participant. The reason he did this: the copy was to small on the week view. He couldn't read it.

Feel free to share this post with anyone who might find it useful. It's on the web: www.zombor.io/unpack-unexpected-behavior/